Sedona’s unusually cold spring delayed the planting of St Andrew’s 2019 Chile Farm, but recent high temperatures have done the trick. Rows of Chimaya chile peppers, a heirloom type cultivated by Pueblo people for generations in New Mexico, are popping up from their protective collars. St Andrew’s will harvest, dry, and grind the peppers for sale as Holy Smokes and for creating spicy homemade condiments that will also be sold at the church and to family and friends.
In addition, this year volunteers planted varietals of Yoeme blue corn, native squash, and Sacaton brown tepary beans. Native Seeds/SEARCH, a Tucson non-profit conserves dry-climate friendly plants originally grown by indigenous peoples and early immigrants. Our seeds will be saved and forwarded to them to replenish dangerously low seed bank reserves.
As head Chile Farm wrangler Ron Rummell points out, “When many Native Americans were granted land by the government, they were not given adequate water rights to sustain their traditional crops. The Native Seeds project helps to revive some of those lost heirloom plants.”